What do I need to be a successful Background Extra?

There are a number of things that make a successful Background Artist or Extra:

  • Reliability
  • Good availability
  • Flexible
  • Own transport
  • Take direction
  • Arriving 15 minutes of your call time.
  • A mobile phone and email address.

This is important as the majority of our communication is done via text and email. 

How do I apply to be an Extra will GBM Casting?

To apply to GBM Casting please fill out an e-application

As part of the e-application we will ask you to attached a selfie. Please could your selfie be a

a head and shoulders shot with a blank background – no mirrors, plants, dogs or cats

Once we have received your e-application we will be in touch for quick telephone interview so we can understand your availability and explain what next. Sometimes we might contact you about work before your e-application is processed as you have a look or skill that a Director is looking for.

To join GBM Casting there is a Working Finding Fee of £50 – professional photos and management representation are included in this price.

Only professional photos will be posted onto the website

You can also follow us on Facebook (hyperlink to GBM Casting Facebook when hovering over the word Facebook) as we post jobs to find people with certain skills or looks which we can’t fill from the people on our books.

We look forward to receiving you e-application from you as New Faces are very important to GBM Casting

I have been confirmed for a job tomorrow. When will I get the details?

Job details (call time, location and costume brief) can be sent late on the evening. Once we receive the details we will forward all the details to you by text. Any intricate details such as location and costume brief may also be emailed to you so please check both.

If you haven’t heard by 7pm the night before you are due on set – please get in touch with us.

Please do not contact us in advance of 7pm simply because it can block the line for call times and jobs coming to us.

What should I wear?

We will text you in advance of the job to tell you exactly what you need. It will most likely be your own clothes. Some simple guidelines to help you always get it right:

    • Bring at least three full options, which are clean and pressed.
    • No logos or crazy patterns including spots, dots and stripes
    • Think about the weather and location of the shoot. You may want to wear thermal underwear beneath any costumes and clothing.
    • No shoes that make a clip noise  – only soft soles and remember to wear comfortable shoes as you may be required to stand for a period of time

How long are shoot days?

Scheduled shoot days tend to be 12 hour that generally run from 07.00 to 19.00.

Driving to a Job and Parking

If there is parking available on a shoot we will let you know otherwise you will be responsible for finding your own parking – it may be more convenient to use public transport if times and locations allow.

What should I do if I am late or something happens on the way to a job?

Phone the GBM Casting mobile number immediately. We will then contact the AD on set and let them know your ETA and if they still want you to attend.

What happens when I arrive on set?

When you first arrive on set, there will be someone there to tell you where you should go.

You will be directed to the various stations as appropriate. Please always follow the directions of the AD’s and other production crew.

It is likely that you will be placed in a holding area before the shooting starts and in-between takes and scenes. Please stay in the holding area as you may be required at short notice and production will not be willing to search for you.

Mobile Phones

Due to confidentiality and security precautions please do not take mobile devices onto the set. This is non negotiable even if you see crew with theirs.

Will there be somewhere secure to leave my bag and other things?

This is not guaranteed. It is recommended that you do not bring valuables with you on a shoot.

Does and Don’t while filming?

  • Please do not talk while on set
  • When filming a scene that requires talking please mine in silence
  • Be aware of your arm movements as lots of movement can look exaggerated on camera
  • Do not look at the camera  – look everywhere except at the camera
  • Follow instructions exactly as asked
  • Don’t change your clothes during takes
  • Wear exactly what the costume department asks
  • When asked to go to ‘1st position’ go back to where you started.
  • Watch the person who gave you the instructions for your que to move/walk/run
  • Only smoke in designated smoking area during allocated breaks.

Can I talk to the Actors?

We would ask that you don’t unless they speak to you first. Please never approach the actors. The set is their place of work workplace.

What should I do when I am not on set?

In between takes you will be asked to return to the holding area or stay by the set ready to shoot again.

There will be ongoing filming and if you are close to the set please ensure you stay quiet and listen for what next.

You may be waiting around for some time, so bring something to keep yourself entertained, like a book and/or a newspaper. Although not allowed on set you can use your phone, iPad or tablet in the holding area

What if I have an accident on set?

Please report the accident immediately to the AD responsible for you.

An accident report should be completed and signed by production, you may be asked to sign it too. Contact us to let us what has happened as soon as possible.

What should I do if I have to leave set early due to illness?

If you become ill on set contact the AD immediately and let them know. If you are able to please also text or call us so we can ensure you are safe.

What should I do if I have any other problem while on set?

Please let us know as soon as possible by calling or texting us ensuring you are not disrupting the filming schedule or using a mobile while on set.

Once we are aware of the problem and made enquiries on your behalf we or the AD responsible will be in contact with directions on what to do.

What does a fitting involve?

If you are booked for a costume fitting it means the costume department needs to see you in advance of the shoot to fit you for a costume for the role you are playing on the shoot day.

Generally you are paid to be at your fitting for up to two hours although the fitting often takes less time. However, you should be plan to be there for the full two hours.

What should I do if i am not sure what to do?

It is very important that you pay full attention to the instructions you are given, and only ask the ADs questions if absolutely necessary, as they are very busy people. Ask a fellow artist and see if they can answer your question.

If you are told conflicting information by the crew always go with the last instruction you were given and remember the name or description of the person who gave you the directions in case you are asked.

Will I get anything to eat on set?

Catering facilities depend on the job. We will tell you in advance of any job if you need to take your own food.

You can take your own food if you want and keep it the holding area.

Tea and coffee will be provided at breaks.

How and When will I get paid?

GBM Casting will pay you within 5 working days of receiving payment from the production company by bank transfer.

Please make sure that you have supplied us with your correct and up to date bank details

The time it takes to get paid is determined by how quickly the production company pays their invoice.

We ask that you allow for 6 weeks before contacting us to enquire about a payment. Before you contact us we ask that you check your bank account and email as all payment slips  are scanned and emailed.

Tax and National Insurance

Working as a Background Artist your are a self-employed entertainer .

It is therefore, your own responsibility to register with HMRC and declare your earnings correctly. You should be able to deduct any commission, administration fee and VAT as business expenses when arriving at your net earnings that you will be subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions on. Please take professional advice on your personal tax situation as we can not offer any tax advice.

How come I have not had much work ?

There are many reasons why you have n’t had much work it. We keep  a record of who has had what work and we try to share it out. However, we have no influence over who is selected. As we have no control over the briefs coming in, nor do we have the final say in who is selected.

Other things that can effect the amount of work for everybody is the seasonal nature of the business with the first part of the year normally being quiet.

I was contacted about my availability for a job but no one replied to me?

We try to get back to everyone that we contact in a day about availability but sometimes we don’t manage for a million reasons – mostly, because we are busy.

The priority for us it contacting those the Director has picked and getting the job confirmed. So, rather texting or calling us  if you have n’t heard back by 7pm assume you have n’t got the job.

Sarah Lauder


“I have worked with Graeme and his team at GBM casting for several years and have always found them a joy to work with. Once briefed they deliver a range of possible cast members quickly and if they don’t happen to have the right type on their books they will do their best to find that person elsewhere.

GBM work to my sometimes ridiculous tight timescales and even tighter budgets and I really get the impression that they know something about the people on their books (which is backed up on set when the cast talk about GBM)

The talent from GBM has always arrived promptly, been personable and at ease and know what is expected of them on set.

I can heartily recommend them for any casting requirements.”